Rushden's Richardson takes the long route to qualify for Minehead

James Richardson will head to the UK Open as one of the Rileys QualifiersJames Richardson will head to the UK Open as one of the Rileys Qualifiers
James Richardson will head to the UK Open as one of the Rileys Qualifiers | other
James Richardson is hoping to “do some damage” after earning a place in the Ladbrokes UK Open the hard way last weekend.

The Rushden darts player will make his seventh appearance at one of the PDC’s majors after he won the Rileys Harlow knockout - part of the Rileys Amatuer Qualifiers which gives players not on the PDC Pro Tour the chance to play in the competition.

‘Ruthless’ lost his PDC Tour Card at the end of last year but will remain in the spotlight as one of the 16 Rileys Qualifiers.

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He had to beat his son Joshua in the quarter-finals on his way to victory in Harlow but he will now take on Darren Penhall in his first-round match at the Butlin’s Minehead Resort over the weekend of March 6.

Richardson said: “I am absolutely delighted.

“There were 126 players there and I had a tough quarter on my board so to come through that is great. I just played well all day.

“I beat Josh in the quarter-finals and he was flying and playing brilliantly, but as soon as I took a leg off him his head went a little bit. I just wish we had been in different sides of the draw.

“But I am pleased. If people knock you down, you just have to get up and keep fighting.

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“I will be wearing my qualifiers shirt at Minehead and I will go in there and try to do some damage.

“I am practising and putting the hours in and hopefully it will go well on the day.”

As one of the top 32 players in the Order of Merit, Kettering’s Ricky Evans will enter the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ in the fourth round while Kettering-based David Pallet will start in the second round when he plays either Kevin Doets or Alfie Thompson on the main stage.

Evans, meanwhile, will be hoping his season on the PDC Pro Tour has clicked into gear after a good showing in Players Championship 6 in Wigan last weekend.

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The Kettering star beat Harald Leitinger (6-2), Carl Wilkinson (6-3) and Peter Jacques (6-3) on his way to the last 16 where he was then beaten 6-2 by James Wade.

The previous day, in Players Championship 5, Evans suffered a first-round exit as he lost 6-3 to Dimitri Van den Bergh.